Ambassador Marut Jitpatima visits Tembusu College


On 3rd February 2014, Professor Tommy Koh — Rector of Tembusu College — invited His Excellency Marut Jitpatima, Royal Thai Ambassador to Singapore, for a dinner with the Student Ambassadors of the college. Ambassador Jitpatima — who has visited the College before and whose previous postings include Canada, Indonesia and Pakistan — brought students up to speed with the latest developments surrounding Thailand’s much-publicised recent elections.

Together with his two First Secretaries, the Ambassador later joined Professor Koh, College Master Associate Professor Gregory Clancey, and the students in an engaging and varied dialogue. Frank and lively, the discussion was peppered not only with serious issues of politics including current challenges facing, and opportunities in and for, the Thai state, but also lighter topics such as recommended Thai eateries in Singapore. Ambassador Jitpatima and his staff also graciously brought along Phad Thai and Thai Green Curry prepared in the Thai Embassy’s kitchens, perfectly complementing the food-for-thought that they provided to Professor Koh, Professor Clancey, and the students over dinner.

The Tembusu (Fagraea fragrans) is a large evergreen tree in the family Gentianaceae. It is native to Southeast Asia. Its trunk is dark brown, with deeply fissured bark, looking somewhat like a bittergourd. It grows in an irregular shape from 10 to 25m high. Its leaves are light green and oval in shape. Its yellowish flowers have a distinct fragrance and the fruits of the tree are bitter tasting red berries, which are eaten by birds and fruit bats.